Pennsylvania National Guard members joined numerous military and civil agencies for a large-scale Dense Urban Terrain exercise in Philadelphia.
The exercise was conducted by Task Force 46, a 600-personnel chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) response element comprising National Guard units from states across the country.
The July 25-29 exercise continued a series of planning and execution exercises to coordinate and rehearse emergency response actions in the event of a CBRN attack in a dense urban environment.
Other participating organizations included the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management, the Philadelphia fire and police departments, and other local, county, state, federal, international (Canadian and British), academic and civilian partners.
Approximately 24 Soldiers using four aircraft from the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade flew 11 missions with over 20 hours of flight time, including hoist training, patient transport and movement of search-and-rescue teams and senior leaders. They also stood up a tactical command post to manage all operations.
“The 28th ECAB greatly benefited from this training opportunity, and we stand more ready to support the commonwealth because of the lessons learned and iterations executed,” said Maj. Kandy Heekin, 28th ECAB operations officer.
Also participating in the exercise from the Pennsylvania National Guard were:
• Brig. Gen. Terrence Koudelka, director of the joint staff.
• Brig. Gen. James McCormack, assistant adjutant general, who observed training and participated in a senior leader forum on disaster response.
• Col. Frank Montgomery, director of military support.
The series of exercises began in 2018 and has become one of the nation’s premier all-hazard and homeland defense exercises to enhance interagency interoperability in the event of “America’s worst day.”
Brad Rhen, Joint Force Headquarters – Pennsylvania National Guard